I have suddenly become the owner of a 1986 Ford Aerostar van. It is in pretty good shape, but because it’s been sitting for a few years (although it does run), it is covered in mold (Pacific northwest green curse), I can clean it off the outside easily enough, with a lot of elbow grease and hot soapy water and rags I’ll never use again, but yesterday I discovered that the steering wheel and dashboard are also covered in a grayish-green smelly mold or mildew. Aside from this, the interior is in great shape. What would be the best way to clean this? I started on the steering wheel with Windex and a roll of paper towells, but it’s real slow going. There has to be a quicker and more efficient way to clean this. Also, do I need to air out the van after I get it cleaned up? Is there anything dangerous about this I need to know? We’re wanting to take this van on camping trips to the coast, so I want to make sure it’s safe.
I’ve never heard of the green curse. But I would try bleach water (10% or so to start). Make sure, that the bleach water solution doesn’t get mixed with the windex you tried before, especially in the confines of a car though.
Maybe even a bathtub cleaner.
Drive it down here to Austin. A few days in the ultraviolet blast furnace that we call summer will fix it right up.
Sunshine and fresh air, and lots of it. Bleach it, leave it with the doors or windows open as long as possible.
They talked about mold in auto, A/C/heater ducts, on a recent Cartalk show. I seem to recall that Click and Clack mentioned a product that can be sprayed into the ducts to kill mold, but I don’t remember the name. You might check the Cartalk web site, or ask at your local auto parts store.
I deal with antique linen a lot which makes me a stainmeister. Make a paste out of cream of tartar and lemon juice. Wipe on then leave it to dry in the sun (the sun part is important) then wipe off.
Thanks, everybody. I never would’ve thought to check the Car Talk site, but that makes sense. Can you get cream of tartar in anything bigger than those little jars? That might be pretty expensive. Think I might try the bleach first. Sunshine will have to wait for this weekend, though - Seattle is caught up in an overcast/rainy mode right now. Is there anything you can hang in the van afterwards to prevent the return of the mold?
Bleach might affect the material the dash is made from, if you use it, make it a light solution, say no more than 10%, blech to water. You’ll probably need to add a very small amount of liquid soap also. You have to leave the bleach on there for 5 to 10 minutes for it to be effective.